Huddersfield Town 4 Yeovil 2: Tactical switches paid off, says Clark

EVEN an Asian bookmaker would have had trouble convincing anyone to take odds on Huddersfield being top of League One by the end of the afternoon after their first-half display at the Galpharm Stadium.

Yet that is where they finished after a relentless attacking performance brought four goals and left Yeovil stunned.

No-one was more delighted than unlikely hero Jamie McCombe, who scored the first double of his career against his great friend Stephen Henderson, brought in on Friday from Bristol City as emergency goalkeeping cover for the visitors.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The majority of the former Bristol centre-back's 28 goals have come with his head and that trademark finish from Graham Carey's cross following a short corner put Town level in the 66th-minute.

The 6ft 4in stopper's second, when he turned his marker and drilled the ball home following a flick on from Lee Novak a couple of minutes later, however, drew comparisons with England beanpole striker Peter Crouch from team-mate Gary Roberts.

"Peter Crouch on steroids," joked the level-headed Pontefract-born 27-year-old, who knew his side's first-half performance had just not been good enough.

Town were 2-0 down within 15 minutes largely due to poor defending, Dean Bowditch swivelling to fire the opener after Carey had deflected a cross into his path and Paul Huntington left unmarked at the far post to stab in the second following a free-kick.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That is how it stayed until the break as manager Lee Clark's reshaping of his side took time to take effect.

Carey was utilised as a left wing-back, Lee Peltier switched across to his normal right-back role, Scott Arfield moved up to the right flank and Roberts was brought inside to play behind the front two of Lee Novak and the profligate Alan Lee.

Feisty Damien Johnson had ensured Town were not over-run in central midfield and the second-half introduction of Joey Gudjonsson brought a touch of class, calming influence and domination to that area as Town produced their best 45 minutes of the season.

They were quickly back in it when Scotland Under-21 Arfield smashed the ball home from the corner of the area and after McCombe's brace, Roberts sent Henderson the wrong way from the spot after Luke Ayling inexplicably handled on the far side of the area in the 75th minute.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McCombe said: "We had been brilliant in training but it just didn't happen for us at the start of the game. They had two chances and they went in – these things happen in games.

"But once we played ourselves back in and got a good rhythm and tempo to the game, our fitness and ability on the ball turned the second half. We knew at half-time we needed the next goal to give us the momentum and it picked us up.

"The belief grew and we knew had another 40 minutes to go on and win the game – the same thing in reverse happened against us at Peterborough and it's a horrible feeling.

"That's the nature of football especially at the level we are playing at. But having gone top is good for morale and belief. The gaffer said 'I wish you lads believed as much in youselves as I believe in you' and he's right.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When we are on form and playing to our potential there is no reason why we can't beat anybody comfortably in this league but it's a matter of getting to that level all the time."

On being denied a hat-trick, he added: "Clarkey (captain Peter) said take it because I had got the ball but penalties are Robbo's job – mine's to win football matches.

"It would have been great to get a hat-trick and if there had been the cushion of another goal then I might bullied Robbo and took it."

Young Arfield said after a second successive goal: "Yeovil had given us a kick up the backside so I was delighted to score and put the lads back in the game. It got us into our stride and got our confidence levels up."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Having already filled several roles, he added: "I see myself at my best in the middle of the park, that's where I'm best with my energy but I'm the kind of boy who just loves to play football regardless where it is and it's good for me personally and also for the team that I can play in a variety of positions."

Manager Clark was quick to play down the fact that his side had gone top. "What it is is 14 points from seven games and if you average that out over the season it's a tally that gets you promoted.

"Without a doubt that was our best performance at home in the second half. We were outstanding. Every time we got the ball we moved it well and created opportunities so I'm delighted. It was high tempo, high intensity, quality football."

Huddersfield Town: Smithies, Arfield, McCombe, Clarke, Peltier; Roberts, Johnson, Kay (Gudjonsson 46), Carey (Ridehalgh 90); Lee (Rhodes 67), Novak. Unused substitutes: Bennett, Garner, Pilkington, Croft.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yeovil Town: Henderson, Alcock, Huntington, Virgo, Smith; G Williams (Upson 90), MacDonald, Tudur Jones (Freeman 76), Welsh (Ayling 58); A Williams, Bowditch. Unused substitutes: Stam, Calver, Roberts, Gibson.

Referee: D Foster (Tyne and Wear).


Hero: Jamie McCombe

At half-time it would have been guest for the day and Town fan Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire CCC captain, but then a quickfire second-half double from No 18 and central defender McCombe puts Huddersfield on the road to victory.

'Villain': Alan Lee

Town's target man could have had a hat-trick but failed to convert two opportunities inside the six-yard area and struck the bar with a flying header – but still received a standing ovation when subbed.

Key moment

49th minute: Free-kick from Gary Roberts cleared to left corner of the area where Scott Arfield smashes the ball home.

Ref watch

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

David Foster: Rejected several penalty shouts before having no option but to award one for handling by Luke Ayling.


Huddersfield will want to forget their first-half display and reflect more on the relentless attacking performance which took them to the top of the league.

Next game

Swindon Town v Huddersfield Town, Saturday, League One, 3.00pm.

Quote of the day

There was no chance of me giving Jamie the penalty – he's not a striker, he's a centre-half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

– Penalty-taker Gary Roberts on denying Jamie McCombe a hat-trick opportunity.

Welcome to the Yorkshire Post's exciting match-day service, called Match Centre. Here you will find minute-by-minute updates, stats and team formations. Plus reports from every game in England, from the Premier League down to the Blue Square Premier.

Simply select your game from the pull down menu, then click on the 'i' information button on the right of the fixture and it will give you access to everything you need to know about your team.

So if you can't make it to a game, head for the Match Centre and we will give you the best seat in the house. Click the link below.

For the latest team news, score and commentary from your team check out our new Match Centre

For full reports read Monday's Yorkshire Post.